"Open Government" initiative blocked by judge, case headed to AZ Supreme Court
By: Al Ortiz
Contact: Brittany Clingen
The measure, also known as the Open Government Act, would implement a top-two style open primary system. In a top-two open primary, candidates for a government position run on the same primary ballot regardless of party affiliation. All registered voters are then able to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice. The two candidates with the most votes are then placed on the November general election ballot, regardless of party affiliation. The proposal was introduced by former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson.
In order to qualify for the 2012 statewide ballot, supporters were required to collect a minimum of 259,213 valid petition signatures by deadline.
On the day of the deadline, July 5, supporters turned in signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State's office. Signatures are being verified to see if the measure is eligible for the November 6, 2012 ballot.
On July 23, 2012, a lawsuit was filed with Maricopa County Superior court aimed at blocking the measure from the ballot. According to reports, the lawsuit against the measure was filed by opponents who claim the initiative has "a legion of unintended consequences." They are represented by Attorney Michael Liburdi, who argues that the proposal violates the state single-subject rule.
Single-subject rules require that an initiative contain only one issue or subject. The initiative can only address one question. Currently, fifteen states have a single-subject law.
Judge Mark Brain stated that there is no reason why a prohibition on public funding for party activities should be included in the initiative.
The text of the proposed amendment can be found here.
- Arizona 2012 ballot measures
- Arizona Legislature
- 2012 ballot measures
- List of Arizona ballot measures
- Caivn.org, "Open Government Committee launches top-two open primary ballot initiative in Arizona", August 15, 2011
- Business Journals, "Paul Johnson Ballot initiative...", accessed October 3, 2011
- Associated Press, "Initiative would switch Arizona primary to 'top 2'," September 27, 2011
- The Daily Courier, "Petitions filed for 2 Arizona ballot measures", July 5, 2012
- East Valley Tribune, "Open primary foes file lawsuit to keep measure off Arizona ballot", July 16, 2012
- East Valley Tribune, "Judge to hear arguments in Arizona open primary initiative", July 25, 2012
- The Voting News, "Judge blocks top-two initiative from Arizona ballot", August 7, 2012
- Arizona Capitol Times, "Top-two primary supporters appeal to high court", August 8, 2012